There are many names used around the country and around the world for weed whackers (or weed wackers even): weed eaters, string trimmers (or strimmers), cordless string trimmer, line trimmers, weed whips, even whipper-snippers.
No matter what you refer to them as, whether it’s gas-powered, electric, or battery-operated weed eaters, these tools are incredibly useful for maintaining the tidy and pristine edges of a lawn. They excel at cutting down pesky weeds that tend to sprout in hard-to-reach spots, such as near raised areas, fences, or trees. In some cases, they can even serve as a modern alternative to the traditional scythe for tackling overgrown areas.
The earliest trimming tools used heavy metal blades for cutting, but modern versions, including the best weed eaters, utilize a sturdy monofilament string. This string is spun rapidly by a motor or engine, allowing it to efficiently and quickly tackle grass and weeds. When a section of the string wears down, a new length is advanced to the active cutting area. This method proves to be both efficient and highly effective for managing unwanted growth.
Pros and Cons of Weed Whacker Models
These tools come in different power options, including fuel-powered, electric weed eaters, or battery-powered models, and the choice of the best weed eater for your needs depends on the specific tasks you have in mind.
Gas-powered models, often using a gas-oil mixture, tend to be the most potent units. They allow you to tackle overgrown areas with ease, complete your work quickly, and handle large properties without the interruption of a battery recharge. However, they can be more expensive to operate due to fuel costs, and their mechanical components may require more maintenance or repairs compared to other types of string trimmers. Gas trimmers are typically heavier, making them a bit more challenging to use, and they can be harder to start. Additionally, changing the string length usually involves a manual “bumping” action against the ground to advance to a fresh section.
On the other hand, battery-powered or corded weed whackers offer advantages such as being lighter in weight, having lower operating costs, and not requiring the use of chokes, pull cords, or priming bulbs for starting. They are also quieter in comparison to the loud noise produced by gas-powered machines, and some have automatic string advancement, eliminating the need for manual bumping. However, both battery and corded options have their limitations. Batteries have a limited runtime before needing a recharge, while electric cords restrict you to areas within reach of an outlet. Additionally, both types typically deliver less power than gas-driven models, which can limit their ability to cut tall or thick grass and weeds effectively.
Sorting Through the Possibilities
Once you’ve determined the type of weed whacker that suits your property, it’s important to consider other key factors when choosing the right model. At Your House Garden, we believe that the comfort level of a string trimmer is paramount. For gas-powered models, this includes assessing the length of the shaft and measures taken to minimize engine vibrations. For battery and electric models, it involves evaluating whether the shaft length is adjustable, the battery’s runtime on a single charge, and the cord length for electric versions.
Regardless of the power source, you’ll have the option to choose between a straight or curved shaft. Straight shaft models are heavier but generally easier for most users to handle and can reach under bushes or obstacles. On the other hand, curved shaft weed whackers have a shorter reach and are somewhat challenging for precision trimming. However, they are lighter and easier to store. At Your House Garden, we tend to prefer trimming with a straight shaft model.
When it comes to selecting the best weed wacker for your yard work, there are additional factors to consider. A swiveling head can be a useful feature, especially for edging, as it allows you to adjust the trimming angle easily. Pay attention to the spool of string, as it will require periodic replacement. Look for a model that offers straightforward spool replacement and a long-lasting spool. Additionally, consider the width of the cutting path; gas-powered models often have wider cutting paths. Price is, of course, a consideration, so be sure to compare models and choose the one that best suits your needs and budget.
Here, you’ll find our reviews of the best weed eater brands suitable for use in your garden.
1. Echo SRM-225 String Trimmer
Our review team at Your House Garden put in considerable effort to find any flaws in this gas-powered straight-shaft weed whacker, but we simply couldn’t find any significant drawbacks. This machine is truly exceptional, and the only downside we could identify is its relatively high price tag. However, we firmly believe that the SRM-225 is worth the extra cost.
Of course, the typical “cons” associated with any gas-powered unit apply to this Echo model. It weighs in at a substantial 12 pounds, requires a gas/oil mixture for fuel, and may occasionally require adjustments to the choke (although it usually starts effortlessly on the first pull, thanks to a proprietary starter system). But let’s talk about its incredible power. The 21.2cc two-stroke engine starts smoothly and effortlessly tackles weeds and grass of varying heights and thicknesses with its 17-inch wide dual cutting lines. This machine outperforms all the other string trimmers on our list.
The SRM-225 is not only well-built but also designed with user comfort in mind. It’s easy to handle with its 59-inch shaft and dual strings, and the anti-vibration handle on this Echo model effectively reduces discomfort. The bump feed system works flawlessly, and we appreciate how straightforward it is to replace the spool of string. Furthermore, the Echo offers a robust five-year warranty.
There is one minor drawback to mention: the SRM-225 is so powerful that even with a deflector shield, it can still scatter debris. So, it’s advisable to wear safety goggles and sturdy boots while operating it. But, safety should always be a top priority, right?
The Echo SRM-225 is an outstanding gas weed eater, and no competitor even comes close. As long as you don’t mind spending more than you would for a lesser machine, it’s the one to look at first.
Facts and figures on the Echo SRM-225 String Trimmer:
2. Ego Power+ Cordless Brushless String Trimmer
It’s commonly understood that cordless weed eaters usually don’t match the power of gas-powered ones. However, the Ego Power+ comes remarkably close to challenging that notion, thanks to its innovative 56-volt lithium-ion battery and high-efficiency brushless motor. Just like the Echo stands out as the top weed whacker on the market, the Ego surpasses all other cordless competitors. It’s undeniably a powerhouse.
Even if you’ve always thought that a gas-powered machine is the only solution for your lawn or overgrown property, it’s worth considering this alternative. The convenience of push-button start, nearly silent operation, and a comfortable design with minimal vibration are incredibly appealing. The battery provides anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour of usage per charge, depending on your usage intensity. Moreover, there’s a variable speed trigger right on the handle, allowing you to slow down for precise trimming in easy-to-reach areas or go full throttle to tackle that dense weed forest in your backyard. The dual cutting lines are also a noteworthy feature.
The 15-inch cutting swatch on the Power+ isn’t quite as wide as on the Echo but wider than on most battery models; similarly, the extendable, hinged 49” shaft isn’t as long but is more than enough for most users. The bump system to advance the string works very well.
If you prefer a battery-powered weed whacker and aren’t on a tight budget, the Ego Power+ is the one you want. You should also consider it even if you prefer a gas-powered model, because it’s packed with power and a pleasure to use without the hassles of fuel changes or noise.
More details for the Ego Power+ Cordless Brushless String Trimmer:
3. Weed Eater W25CFK 25cc Curved Shaft String Trimmer
While our preference leans toward straight shaft trimmers, we understand that you might be considering a curved shaft model. In such cases, Your House Garden recommends the Weed Eater W25CFK. It’s important to note that opinions on curved shaft units, in general, vary because they tend to be lightweight and more budget-friendly. They may not possess the same impressive build or durability as higher-end models. However, among curved shaft trimmers, this one stands out as the best choice, surpassing even Weed Eater’s newer W25CBK model.
The W25CFK features a reliable 25cc two-cycle engine, comparable to the engines found in many higher-priced competitors. It delivers a substantial amount of power and boasts a 15-inch cutting width. Nonetheless, we don’t recommend it for heavy-duty use, as it may not have the sturdiness required for tackling dense weeds. This Weed Eater operates on an oil/gas mixture for fuel and is relatively easy to start, although you may need to adjust the choke occasionally.
There is one significant drawback to this weed whacker: it doesn’t automatically advance the string. When the old string wears down, you’ll need to replace it with a new pre-cut string (included), which adds a bit of inconvenience to the process. However, considering it costs less than half the price of the Echo gas-powered model, some users may not mind the extra effort.
The Weed Eater W25CFK is meant for lawn maintenance, not deforestation of overgrown areas. As long as you use it for its designed purpose, and as long as you really want a curved shaft model, this one has plenty of power at a very attractive price.
Looking deeper at the Weed Eater W25CFK 25cc Curved Shaft String Trimmer:
4. Toro 51480 Corded 14-Inch Electric Trimmer/Edger
We’re not particularly fond of corded weed whackers, mainly because we often find ourselves trying to avoid running over the cord. However, if you possess better coordination than the weekend mowers and gardeners on the Your House Garden team and have a small area that requires trimming near an outlet, the Toro 51480 could be the perfect budget-friendly choice to keep your lawn looking envy-worthy.
Equipped with a five-amp motor, this straight shaft, dual-line string trimmer can also function as an edger with a simple button press. It provides ample power for both tasks and doesn’t struggle when tackling dense grass. The Toro 51480 is well-constructed and well-balanced, offers a decent cutting width, features a telescoping shaft that can extend from 40 to 49 inches, and includes an assist handle for enhanced control.
Now, here’s the “good news, bad news” aspect of the string feed: The Toro has an auto-feed system for cutting string, eliminating the need to bump it on the ground manually. That’s the good news. However, the bad news is that the string advances each time you turn the 51480 off and then back on, which can lead to relatively quick string consumption.
The Toro 51480 is a lot of weed whacker for a corded model, with great power for a budget price. Just be sure you won’t mind being tethered to your power source before buying one.
Specifications for the Toro 51480 Corded 14-Inch Electric Trimmer/Edger:
5. Hitachi CG23ECPSL Gas-Powered String Trimmer
While it may not fit into the budget category, the CG23ECPSL offers exceptional value with a price significantly lower than other weed eaters on our list. It boasts an impressive length of nearly 70 inches, powered by a 22.5cc Hitachi two-stroke gas engine. Despite its lightweight design, it features an excellent anti-vibration system, allowing for extended use without causing fatigue. The “S-Start” recoil starting system, appreciated by our review team, doesn’t require excessive strength to pull.
Hitachi provides a generous amount of string with the trimmer, enough for approximately ten hours of use before replacement is needed (and reloading new string onto the spool is a straightforward task). Additionally, this bump-style weed eater has a smaller-than-usual head, resulting in greater torque for quicker spinning and faster cutting. While it lacks a feature to turn the head sideways for edging, given its price point, it offers impressive overall value.
For about a hundred bucks less than our top-ranked models, you’ll get almost all of the same performance in this lightweight Hitachi model. It’s definitely worth considering.
Specifications for the Hitachi CG23ECPSL Gas-Powered String Trimmer:
Ryobi P2060 One+ String Trimmer/Edger
* Unfortunately, it looks like this Ryobi model might not be available right now, so please consider another string trimmer for now.
This is one of the more budget-friendly options when it comes to battery-powered weed eaters, offering decent quality and versatility despite a few drawbacks.
On the positive side, it can run on any type of One+ battery, whether lithium-ion or NiCad. It features an adjustable-length shaft that can be rotated for both trimming and edging, along with an adjustable head to accommodate different cutting widths. The automatic string feed is a convenient feature, and it’s incredibly lightweight, weighing in at less than seven pounds.
However, the Ryobi P2060’s 18-volt battery falls short in terms of capacity compared to most similar models, making it less suitable for tackling thick patches of grass or weeds (although it handles medium-duty tasks with ease). The rotating shaft is not as effective as the rotating head found in other models. Furthermore, it only has a single line for trimming, and you can expect 20-40 minutes of trimming time on a single charge.
For the price, this is a great battery-powered weed whacker for homeowners who want to neaten up, but don’t need to clear lots of problem areas throughout their property.
The lowdown on the Ryobi P2060 One+ String Trimmer/Edger:
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a difference between a weed eater and a weed wacker?
No, there is no substantial difference between the terms “weed eater” and “weed wacker.” Both are colloquial names for the same type of landscaping tool, which is officially known as a string trimmer. These terms are often used interchangeably in everyday language to refer to the machine designed for cutting grass and weeds in areas that are hard to reach with a lawnmower.
Are electric weed eaters worth it?
Electric weed eaters can be worth it, depending on your specific needs and preferences. They are generally quieter, produce no emissions, and require less maintenance compared to gas-powered counterparts, making them environmentally friendly and easier to use for homeowners with smaller yards. However, electric models are typically less powerful than gas-powered ones, which may limit their effectiveness for heavy-duty tasks or large properties.
Do weed eaters work better without guards?
Weed eaters are designed to be used with their guards in place for safety reasons. The guard serves as a protective barrier between the spinning cutting string and the operator, preventing debris, rocks, and grass clippings from being thrown towards the user. Removing the guard can significantly increase the risk of injury and is not recommended.
The Your House Garden review team hopes you enjoyed this best weed eater review! If you are after more summer lawn care fun, why not have a trip down memory lane and check out our best reel mower review?